Jean Ter-Merguerian

Jean Ter-Merguerian (Armenian: Ժան Տեր-Մերկերյան; Marseille, 5 October 1935 – Marseille, 29 September 2015) was a French-Armenian virtuoso violinist and violin pedagogue.[1][2][3]

Jean Ter-Merguerian
in concert, 1970s
Background information
Birth nameJean Ter-Merguerian
Also known asMerguirian / Mergherian / Mergerian / Mergerjan
Born(1935-10-05)5 October 1935
Marseille, France
Died29 September 2015(2015-09-29) (aged 79)
Marseille, France
Occupation(s)Violinist, pedagogue
InstrumentsNicolò Amati, violin
Years active1946–2015


Jean Ter-Merguerian has got the first prize for violin at the Marseille Conservatoire at the age of 11. In the same year, his first recital took place, where he performed Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor and Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E minor with conductor André Audoli. In 1947 he immigrated in Soviet Armenia, where he continued his musical studies in Yerevan with prof. Karp Dombaïev and then in the Moscow Conservatory in the class of David Oistrakh. Jean Ter-Merguerian is a prizewinner of international violin competitions, such as Prague Spring (1956), Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Queen Elisabeth in Bruxelles (1963). He also got the first Grand Prix at the Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris (1961).[4] Along with his concert activities, in ex-USSR, Western Europe, Lebanon,[5] South America, the United States, and Canada, he gave lectures at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. He got the title of "People's Artist of the Armenian SSR". In 1981 he moved to his birthplace of Marseille.

In 1975, during his USA tour, he played in Boston the Violin Concerto by Brahms; The story goes that, at the conclusion of the concert, the conductor Arthur Fiedler, who was very hard to please and given to lavishing praise, embraced the young violinist on stage with paternal love and wished him success. This was the ringing endorsement of the talent of Jean Ter Merguerian, who had just given his first performance in the United States.

His solo performances were accompanied by orchestras of different countries conducted by famous conductors, also Aram Khachaturian having conducted his own violin concerto. Jean Ter-Merguerian was also member of juries of international competitions: "Paganini" in Genoa, Italy, "Sarasate" in Pamplona, Spain, "Tchaikovsky" in Moscow and "Khachaturian"[6] in Yerevan. He leaved in France, giving master classes there and abroad. He played on a Nicolò Amati violin. Jean Ter-Merguerian died of cancer, after a long illness at his home, in Marseille, on 29 September 2015.[7] He is survived by his wife, the pianist Lilia, his son Vagram and his daughter.

The most important thing for a performer is to penetrate into the soul of the composer, to be able to “read” his emotions...
(Jean Ter-Merguerian)


  • Jean Ter-Merguerian - L'Âme du violon (Ջութակի հոգին / Violin's soul), 176 pages, 2012, Armenian, Russian, French | ISBN 978-9939-0-0463-1

Quotes from colleagues (in original language)

Fais très attention à ce que je vais te dire. Vois tu, la beauté possède en elle un grand danger. Pouvoir la faire exister, la fréquenter souvent, passer devant régulièrement, c'est le danger de s'y habituer, de finir par ne plus la voir, de passer devant avec indifférence, fais toujours attention à cela...
(Jean Ter-Merguerian, 1989)
  • „J'ai une grande admiration pour Jean. Sa sonorité, sa technique et sa musicalité sont parfaites. ...C'est un très grand artiste, un violoniste sensationnel...“ (Zino Francescatti)
  • „Le violoniste le plus doué de sa génération.“ (Henryk Szeryng)
  • „Jean Ter-Merguerian n'est pas seulement un grand violoniste, il est un grand artiste.“ (Christian Ferras)
  • „La pus belle technique d'archet du monde tout instrument à corde confondu.“ (Mstislav Rostropovitch)
  • „Jean Ter-Merguerian is a gentleman among violinists. He has extraordinary technical skills and a deep musicality.“ (Jonathan Dove, The Strad)


No official recital and concerts recordings by Jean Ter-Merguerian exists. Only two CD-Rs of live and archive broadcast material have been released (CD-R 1 : "Selection from Performances" / CD-R 2 : "Khachaturian 100th").[8] The 1966 Armenian Radio broadcast recording of Bach Double Concerto is part of a 2CDs compilation dedicated to his colleague, the violinist Anahit Tsitsikian. In 1999 Jean Ter-Merguerian recorded his only commercial release: Gérard Gasparian's Violin Sonata (1990), with the composer himself at the piano (CD Timpani 1C1055).[9] Armenian Radio TV archives are full of Jean Ter-Merguerian's recordings, yet to be discovered.

Live, private, radio TV archives, uncommercial

composer work orchestra / conductor / accompanist recording source note
Bach, Johann SebastianChaconne, in D minor, BWV 1004violin sololive(1)CD-R 1
Mozart, Wolfgang AmadeusRondò (Serenade No.7 "Haffner" KV 250)Zemphira Barseghian, pianolive(2)CD-R 1
Beethoven, Ludwig vanViolin Concerto Op.61, II. LarghettoArmenian State Symphony O. / Loris Tjeknavorian, 1recording of 1st and 3rd mvmt. is probably lost
Beethoven, Ludwig vanViolin Concerto Op.61, III. Rondò (Allegro)ORTF / Louis Fourestier, cond. (prize winner concert of the Marguerite Long–Jacques Thibaud Competition)live Paris, 27 June 1961VIDEO
interviewORTF interview at the "1st Grand Prize", Jean Ter-Merguerian, with Henryk Szeryng (Jury member)after Prize winners Concert of the 9th Marguerite Long–Jacques Thibaud Competitionlive Paris, 27 June 1961VIDEO
Sarasate, Pablo deHabanera, Op.21/2 (Spanish Dance No.2)Nelli Daniel-Bek, pianostudio(4)CD-R 1
Sarasate, Pablo deRomanza andaluza, Op.22/1 (Spanish Dance No.3)Nelli Daniel-Bek, pianostudio(4)CD-R 1
Sarasate, Pablo deCapricho vasco (Caprice Basque), Op.24Zemphira Barseghian, pianolive(2)CD-R 1
Scott, CyrilLotus Land, Op.47 No.1Zemphira Barseghian, pianostudio(5)CD-R 1
Szymanowski, KarolLa Fontaine d'Arethousa, Op.30 No.1 ("Mythes")Zemphira Barseghian, pianostudio(5)CD-R 1
Prokofiev, SergeiMasks ("Romeo and Juliet", Suite Op.75) arr. Jascha HeifetzNelli Daniel-Bek, pianostudio(6)CD-R 1
Khachaturian, AramAyshe's Dance ("Gayane", Ballet Suite No.2)Nelli Daniel-Bek, pianostudio(6)CD-R 1
KomitasKeler tsoler (Striding, Beaming), arr. Aram ShamshyanNelli Daniel-Bek, pianolive(7)CD-R 1
KomitasAkh Maral jan (Ah, Dear Maral), arr. Aram ShamshyanNelli Daniel-Bek, pianolive(7)CD-R 1
KomitasGroong (The Crane)violin sololive(8)CD-R 1
Sibelius, JeanViolin Concerto, in D minor Op.47, II. Adagio di moltoArmenian State Symphony O. / Michael Malountian, 1970sI & III recording probably lost
Khachaturian, AramViolin Concerto, in D minor (1940)Armenian State Symphony O. / Michael Malountian, 2
Khachaturian, AramDance in B-flat Major, Op.1Nelli Daniel-Bek, pianostudio(6)CD-R 2
Khachaturian, AramViolin Concerto, in D minor (1940)URSS State Symphony O. / Aram Khachaturian,, 1970srecording probably lost
Bach, Johann SebastianDouble Concerto for 2 violins, in D minor, BWV 1043Anahit Tsitsikian (I), Jean Ter-Merguerian (II) / Armenian Radio TV Symphony O. / Raphael Mangassarian, condlive, 1966CD [10][11]
Brahms, JohannesViolin Concerto, in D major Op.77Boston Symphony O. / Arthur Fiedler,, 1975
Khachaturian, AramViolin Concerto, in D minor (1940)Erevan Symphony O. / Loris Tjeknavorian, cond.late 1970sVIDEOrecording of 2nd movement only
Gasparian, GérardViolin Sonata (1990)Gérard Gasparian, pianostudio, 1999CD Timpani 1C1055


  1. interview with Jean Ter-Merguerian, Asparez, 17 April 2013.
  2. AVproduction, Jean Ter-Merguerian, violinist - photo gallery
  3. Armenian Celebrities: Jean Ter-Merguerian, violinist
  4. Prize Long-Thibaud - First great prize (1961), Jean Ter-Merguerian - Russia
  5. Chance to witness brilliance of a violinist from the old school, The Daily Star, Lebanon News, February 25, 2000
  6. Jury members Archived 2014-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, "Aram Khachaturian Competition", 2005
  7. SAD NEWS | French-Armenian Violinist Jean Ter-Merguerian Has Died
  8. YouTube playlist: Jean Ter-Merguerian Legacy
  9. CD review, Gwyn Parry Jones (MusicWeb International)
  10. The Art of Anahit Tsitsikian, CD 1 & 2
  11. by "Anahit Tsitsikian Cultural Foundation" Archived 2009-11-30 at the Wayback Machine
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